The 17 best WiFi repeaters right now

You can almost never have enough WiFi coverage and often the coverage is not good enough everywhere in the house. At first glance, a WiFi repeater is an elegant way to let the wireless network reach all corners of your home. We dug in a little deeper and tested seventeen of them.

There will probably be people who walk around with a big smile all day because of the quality of the wireless network in their home. That is probably a large minority. The majority of the population will occasionally complain quite a bit about the range and/or throughput of the Wi-Fi. Although wireless routers are becoming increasingly powerful in the field of Wi-Fi, this is especially true for the 5GHz band. Its bandwidth may have increased considerably since the arrival of 802.11ac, but the range remains relatively poor. For range you still have to be at 2.4 GHz, but that frequency often falls short. If you already have coverage in a hard-to-reach place, you can often do nothing with it because the signal is much too weak. Also read: 10 tips for a faster and better WiFi network.

To tackle the above problem, you can take three routes: pull cables, build a network of powerline adapters (with WiFi) or buy a repeater. In this article, we're going to focus on that last option.

A repeater is an elegant solution at first sight if you have problems with the range of your wireless network. It does everything wirelessly: the signal arrives wirelessly at the repeater and is wirelessly forwarded to the connected devices. Since the vast majority of repeaters on the market can be plugged directly into the wall socket, they can also do their job relatively unobtrusively. For this article, we tested no fewer than seventeen repeaters. The differences between them are not such that we discuss them all separately, we focus on some general trends that are visible. We look at performance, but of course also at the possibilities.

Halving the bandwidth

If there is one thing that is typical of repeaters compared to other network equipment, it is that no cables are used. So everything is wireless.

Repeaters in the consumer segment use a single radio per frequency. This means that on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (with dual-band models), both reception and transmission are done by a single chip (whereby the two frequency bands each have their own radio chip, by the way). A logical consequence is that the available bandwidth that remains for the amplified transmitted signal is considerably lower than that of the incoming signal. In practice, the forwarded signal also weakens somewhat before it reaches a client, so that less bandwidth actually arrives at the client. In general, you have to keep in mind that sometimes you don't have much more than thirty percent of the original bandwidth left, by which we mean the signal as it arrives at the repeater. This also means that the source signal (the wireless signal from the router) must also be of good quality. You can't help a weak router with a good repeater.

To keep the signal usable for most applications, a signal must arrive at the repeater via the 2.4 GHz band that offers well over 50 Mbit/s of bandwidth. That can be quite a challenge, but it is very important, because, based on our tests, in most cases a maximum of 20-25 Mbit/s remains. If you drop (far) below this bandwidth, you may still have a very strong signal left, but it will be of virtually no use. Especially not if you want to connect to it with multiple devices.


For a repeater, correct placement is critical. If you plug it into a socket too close to the source signal, you will have an excellent incoming signal, but there is a good chance that you will not have sufficient range everywhere. If you choose a socket that is too far away from the source, the signal that enters the repeater is no longer good enough. You may have an excellent range in the corners of your house, but a very limited bandwidth.

Of course you are dependent on the availability of sockets when installing. It can come into its own in a certain place, if there is no power outlet nearby, you have to look further. To make sure you place the repeater in the right location in your home, you can use an app like WiFi Analyzer (Android only) or get started with Metageek's inSSIDer software. Of course, the lighting on the repeater also helps with this. In general, you should place the repeater where you still measure a good to very good signal strength. The LED indicators on the repeaters may well be a line from the maximum strength, but we would not recommend more. If you base the placement on data from third-party software, we recommend that your signal is at most between -50 and -60 dBm.

In practice, when placing a dual-band repeater, you will almost always have to compromise and try multiple locations. What is optimal for 2.4 GHz may be too far away for 5 GHz. The same applies vice versa of course.

Simultaneous dual band

If you have a dual-band router, you can now choose from countless dual-band repeaters, now also largely with 802.11ac support. Variants we encountered during our testing are AC750, AC1200, AC1750 and AC1900. AC750 uses a single data stream on 802.11ac (5 GHz), AC1200 of two, and AC1750 and AC1900 of three. The latter variant can only be found in desktop models the size of a router. We have not tested them for this article. AC1750 is put in socket models, but ensures that these are quite hefty devices. In any case, the term 'inconspicuous' does not apply to this. There is also a distinction between devices that are dual-band simultaneously (in English: concurrent or simultaneous) and devices where you can connect to the router via 2.4 or 5 GHz (both connections at the same time is then not possible). The D-Link DAP-1620 and Eminent EM4596 belong to the latter category, all other dual-band models can connect to the router simultaneously via 2.4 and 5 GHz.

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